In Henderson, band competition season a sensory treat

Trombones and trumpets add to Henderson’s soundscape each fall. October sends high school bands marching into competition mode on football fields. Setting aside time for this good music and grand pageantry will rank among my top autumn priorities. Armed with a stadium seat cushion, I plan to be outside enjoying brilliant sounds and amazing sights.

Throughout the scorching-hot weeks of August and September, marching bands and color guard teams across the Las Vegas Valley have been practicing the music, marching, teamwork and pageantry that go into each school’s production. Henderson marching bands already have been performing during the first high school football games of the season, but October is true show time. And, for roughly the price of a movie ticket, the public will have opportunities at two Henderson-area competitions to spend a little or a lot of the day watching highly disciplined artistic routines that pull together hundreds of teenagers for creative shared purposes. The music and visuals will deliver variety, but a theme will be perseverance.

“All the band programs have committed students dedicated to perfecting an eight-minute show through hours and hours of rehearsal outside in the heat. These kids have to memorize music, memorize step sizes, pathways, various musical responsibilities, and choreography — all while attempting to make an emotional connection with complete strangers through music and movement,” said Travis Whaley, band director at Liberty High School. “Why? Because they have a passion, and that passion drives them to push themselves every day to become a better version of themselves.”

At times, the entertaining results look like a fast-paced game of chess or above-ground synchronized swimming or human dominoes. The best shows are combinations of complicated marching drills, theatrical stagecraft and storytelling, with well-performed music always at the core.

Southern Nevada’s marching band competition season opens Oct. 6 with the Henderson Bandfest at Basic High and continues with the Silverado Showdown on Oct. 13 at Silverado High; Tournament on the Turf at Clark High on Oct. 20; Las Vegas Invitational on Nov. 3 at Las Vegas High; and MBOS Championships on Nov. 10 at Sierra Vista High. As those dates near, individual performance times will be available on the Marching Band Open Series website at In my view, the best strategy would be to attend the Oct. 6 competition and return for the finals on Nov. 10. It will be impossible not to be impressed by the improvements in all categories by all marching bands.

“Having a large and appreciative crowd certainly helps in their performance,” said Cara Froelich, Green Valley High’s band director. “This is something our community can get behind and support — especially once they realize the talent level that these students have to offer and the pride and dedication that are on display every time they take the field.”

This year, Liberty High’s program, “RapCity,” fuses George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” and Franz Liszt’s “Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2” with the influences of Dr. Dre, Childish Gambino, Kanye West and others. Coronado High’s colorful “Stained Glass” builds on the brightness-in-the-darkness visual imagery and effect inspired by Mozart’s “Requiem,” Verdi’s “Requiem” and Tchesnokov’s “Salvation is Created.” In Foothill High’s “Adrift,” a storm strikes a regatta, and survivors must work together to stay alive and find their way back to civilization. Basic’s show is titled “A Moment Captured,” and the focus is on reminiscing, reflecting and revisiting special moments in life (audience connection is a goal). Green Valley High’s “The Red Brick Road” is loosely centered on “The Wizard of Oz” with pop songs like Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” and Radiohead’s “Creep” mixing with more classical music like “Aquarium” by Camille Saint-Saens. Forwards and backwards, this marching band season is in lockstep to deliver a winning combination of spirit, sight and sound.

On the walk back to your car, chances are you’ll feel inspired by what you’ve just witnessed — the artistic magic of human creativity and hard work. There’s also that wonderful feeling of having spent hours outdoors, now that the more hospitable fall season is nearly upon us.

Natalie Burt, a former news reporter at the Review-Journal for 11 years, spends as much of her free time as possible enjoying Southern Nevada’s outdoors. She’s now a teacher and has lived in Henderson for 17 years. Email:

New York artist Bobby Jacobs donated a sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden
Bobby Jacobs, an artist from upstate New York, has spent much of the past year creating a sculpture of two separate angel wings. He donated the sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Weather will cool slightly through the end of the week
The weather will cool slightly through the end of the week., but highs are still expected to be slightly above normal for this year. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Mayor announces new public-private partnership
Mayor Carolyn Goodman announced the creation of the Mayor’s Fund for Las Vegas LIFE, a public-private partnership that will allocate money to the city’s neediest.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Fall fairytale gets cozy at Bellagio Conservatory
Bellagio Conservatory introduces its fall-themed garden titled "Falling Asleep." (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
What the house that Ted Binion died in looks like today
Casino heir Ted Binion died in this Las Vegas home in 1998. Current home owner Jane Popple spent over $600,000 to restore and modernize the home. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Rescue Mission employees terminated
Don James, a former employee for the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, talks about the day his team was terminated. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders Cupcakes at Freed's Bakery
Freed's Bakery will have Raiders-themed cupcakes available in store and for order during football season. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s fans say goodbye to Cashman Field
Las Vegas 51s fans said goodbye to Cashman Field in Las Vegas, Monday September, 3, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s owner Don Logan's last weekend at Cashman Field
Don Logan, owner of the Las Vegas 51s, gives a tour of Cashman Field before the team's final weekend using the field. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Metro Asst. Sheriff Brett Zimmerman on Aug. 8 officer-involved shooting
Metropolitan Police Department Assistant Sheriff Brett Zimmerman met with media Monday to discuss the details of the 14th officer-involved shooting of the year. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program where community and business leaders joined to welcome students back with an inspirational welcome. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Star Trek fans on show’s enduring popularity
Star Trek fans at the Star Trek Convention 2018 talk about why they think the show has stayed popular across the years Thursday, August 2, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Nonprofit provides clothing for homeless
Sydney Grover of Can You Spare A Story?, talks about how she founded the non-profit organization. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Family remembers deceased mother
Family members of Adriann Gallegos remember her. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Camp Broadway teaches kids how to sing and dance
The Smith Center's seventh annual Camp Broadway musical theater program gives 150 kids ages 6-17 an opportunity to learn musical theater skills from industry professionals over a five-day period. Marcus Villagran/ Las Vegas Review-Journal @brokejournalist
Restoring classic Corvettes to perfection
Members of the National Corvette Restorers Society Convention talk about what it takes to earn the NCRS Top Flight Award for a restored Corvette at South Point in Las Vegas on Tuesday July 17, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Watch Ruthless! at Las Vegas Little Theatre
The musical Ruthless! will be playing at Las Vegas Little Theatre from July 13-29. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Cadaver art and sword swallowing at The Dark Arts Market
Curator Erin Emrie talks about her inspiration for The Dark Arts Market at Cornish Pasty Co. in Las Vegas Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
'NO H8' Campaign comes to Las Vegas
Hundreds of locals participate in the NO H8 campaign founded by Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley as a response to Proposition 8, a California ban on same-sex marriage. The campaign has since evolved to represent equal treatment for all. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
What to expect at Station Casinos' Fourth of July celebration
Station Casinos' is hosting its annual 4th of July celebration with Fireworks by Grucci. Fireworks scheduled to go off on Wednesday, July 4 around 9 p.m. at Green Valley Ranch Resort, Red Rock Resort, Fiesta Rancho and Texas Station. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Star Wars and Golden Knights mashup at downtown art shop
Star Wars and Vegas Golden Knights fans attend the Boba Fett Golden Knight Paint Class at The Bubblegum Gallery in Las Vegas, Friday, June 29, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Tourists and locals enjoy Independence Day fireworks at Caesars Palace
Hundreds of tourists and locals gaze at the Independence Day fireworks show at Caesars Palace on Saturday, June 30, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Clark County recount votes in commission’s District E primary
Clark County staff begin the recount requested by candidate Marco Hernandez in the democratic primary for the County Commission's District E seat on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Long-running local hip hop producer wants Vegas rappers to shine
Las Vegas Hip Hop producer and co-owner of Digital Insight Recording Studios Tiger Stylz reflects on 30 years of music production in the city. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
"Pawn Stars" fans visit Richard Harrison's memorial at Gold & Silver Pawn
"Pawn Stars" fans from around the world visit the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas following the passing of Richard "Old Man" Harrison on Monday, June 25, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like